Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen has appointed 13 Minnesotans to two-year terms on oversight committees that monitor the agency’s fish and wildlife spending.
The appointees are responsible for reviewing the DNR’s annual Game and Fish Fund report in detail and, following discussions with agency leaders and others, prepare reports on their findings.
Wildlife Oversight Committee appointees are Tamara Barum, Farmington; Denise Bornhausen, Minneapolis; Eric Johnson, International Falls; Dorelle Landsteiner, Minneapolis; Brian Smith; Brooklyn Center; and Mai Pa Nhia Xiong, Brooklyn Park.
Fisheries Oversight Committee appointees are Karl Anderson, Greenbush; Christopher Crutchfield, St. Paul; Jared Cuevas, Minneapolis; Felix R. Martinez-Paz, St. Paul; Craig Pagel, Duluth; Jess Paulson, Zimmerman; and Danny Vue, Buffalo.
In addition, Nikki Bentley of Shoreview was appointed to chair the Budgetary Oversight Committee (BOC) during 2021. The BOC is comprised of the chairs of the Fisheries Oversight Committee and the Wildlife Oversight Committee plus four additional members from each committee.
The new appointees join other members whose terms are continuing. The committees will resume work in late January. The DNR’s Game and Fish Fund report for fiscal year 2020 was published in December.
“We look forward to working with these volunteers who are giving their time in service of hunters, anglers and conservation,” said Dave Olfelt, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. “The appointments continue our commitment to share detailed spending and budget information, bring new participants into the oversight process and ensure revenue generated by hunting and fishing license sales is used appropriately.”
A total of 127 Minnesotans applied for oversight committee positions for this round of appointments. Factors in choosing the new appointees included geographic distribution, demographic diversity and a mix of interests relating to hunting and angling in Minnesota.
The BOC produces an annual report on expenditures for game and fish activities. Those recommendations are delivered to the DNR commissioner and legislative committees with jurisdiction over natural resources financing for further consideration.
These oversight committees continue a citizen oversight function first created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1994. Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is the fiscal foundation for many of the state’s natural resource management functions. About $110 million a year is deposited into this fund from hunting and fishing license sales, a sales tax on lottery tickets, and other sources of revenue including a reimbursement based on a federal excise tax on certain hunting, fishing and boating equipment.
Information about the committees, their members, past DNR Game and Fish Fund expenditure reports and citizen oversight committee reports are available on the Game and Fish Fund budgetary oversight page.